Thursday, 7 August 2008

Some readers like footnotes (1)

Publishers conventionally say that readers don't like notes at the bottom of the page. It makes a book, especially a classic novel, look far too academic. I recall being grateful for the presence of foonotes in an edition of Marcuse I was reading as a student - I was staying with my rather stern Italian aunt at the time who was alarmed (it being the sixties) by the picture of the underdressed girl on the cover. Could this be a suitable book for her good Catholic nephew? Grimly, she opened it. Her face relaxed. 'Ah,' she exclaimed, 'it has footnotes. It is an academic book.'

No comments: